Murder of 87-year-old woman at flat remains a mystery after 36 years

The home of murder victim Edna Harvey, in Finchley Road, Ipswich  Picture: ARCHANT

The home of murder victim Edna Harvey, in Finchley Road, Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

Police remain frustrated in their search for a vital clue to solve the murder of an elderly Ipswich woman almost 36 years ago.

Edna Harvey was murdered in her home in August 1984  Picture: ARCHANTEdna Harvey was murdered in her home in August 1984 Picture: ARCHANT

Edna Harvey’s body was found on a charred mattress in the bedroom of her home in Finchley Road on August 28, 1984.

Police believed the 87-year-old, whose death was caused by asphyxia, may have been killed by a panicked intruder, who then attempted to set her body alight before fleeing the scene.

Neighbours raised the alarm after seeing smoke billowing from the front door of her ground floor flat in the early hours.

Police believed the widow’s home was broken into the night before and that her murder bore the hallmarks of a panic killing.

At the time, Detective Superintendent John Harvey, who led the murder hunt, said the killer was not a professional crook, adding: “We do not think the person went into that flat with the intention of killing anyone or setting light to the premises.

“If she had not disturbed him, I am quite sure she would have woken up in the morning to find she had been burgled.”

Despite more than 60 officers conducting 2,500 interviews and taking 150 statements, Edna’s killer has never been found.

Two youths, seen in the area that night, were under suspicion but never traced, while a witness also reported seeing three men hanging around outside the flat.

Edna’s upstairs neighbour later took his own life and left a note declaring his innocence of the murder. Although there was absolutely no evidence to suggest involvement, the coroner said her neighbour obviously felt people believed he had something to do with the murder.

In 1998, Bob Harvey, Edna’s son, told this newspaper he felt the chances of justice being done were slim due to the passage of time since his frail mother’s “brutal, cowardly” murder.

In 2014, the joint Norfolk and Suffolk major investigation team sought to use advances in technology to establish who murdered Edna but their efforts yielded no positive results.

Last August, on the 35th anniversary of Edna’s murder, detectives vowed never to stop looking for her killer.

Andy Guy, major crime review and unsolved case manager, said it was never too late for people to come forward with information.

But police said last year’s renewed appeal had again yielded nothing to crack the case.

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